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AAN: Ebola May Leave Lasting Neurological Symptoms

Six months after active illness, headaches, memory loss, depression were still being reported

human brain

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 24, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Many Ebola survivors have neurological symptoms that last long after other signs of the infection are gone, according to a study scheduled for presentation at the upcoming annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, to be held from April 15 to 21 in Vancouver, Canada.

Lauren Bowen, M.D., from the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues checked the health of 82 Ebola survivors (average age, 35) in Liberia, one of three West African countries at the epicenter of the 2014 Ebola epidemic.

At least six months after they were first infected with the virus, most had some type of neurological issue. Common symptoms included weakness, headache, memory loss, depressed mood, and muscle pain. Two of the survivors were suicidal and one had hallucinations. Neurological findings upon examination included tremors, abnormal eye movements, and abnormal reflexes.

"While an end to the outbreak has been declared, these survivors are still struggling with long-term problems," Bowen said in an American Academy of Neurology news release.

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